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Vagabond Mini - first thoughts

FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting
Thread started 15 Apr 2011 (Friday) 06:50   
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BJWOK
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After placing an order for a CE version Vagabond Mini way back in October last year we finally received ours yesterday. The reason it took so long? They didn't exist outside the USA at that point.

For the first test shots we decided to take it, the Elinchrom D-lite 4's and MiniTT1/FlexTT5 Pocketwizards down to the beach on sunset, so after a full charge (the manual says 4 hours to fully charge, but it was more accurately just over 2) across the street to Henley Beach we went.

Having always shot with speedlites on the beach it was a bit of a buzz to have our studio setup from inside exactly replicated outside!

The power cable from the D-lite 4 plugs straight into the Vagabond Mini and it hangs on a strap around the light stand. There's another outlet for a second head or even a power board for a total recommended bank of 4 lights. And there is a USB outlet for any device that takes USB charging (hello iphone!)

A 3.5mm mono cable from the FlexTT5 plugs right into the back of the D-lites enabling remote triggering from the MiniTT1 on camera. All of these were shot with 70-200 f/2.8.

A heavy weighted boom stand allowed us to have the larger softbox hanging nicely in position without any risk of falling over.

First thing that I noted and was blown away by, was that the Pocketwizards enabled the D-lites and the 5DMKii to shoot in HSS - shutters synced to 8000 had zero barn doors!! I know this is nothing to do with the Vagabond Mini, but extra bonus points from Pocketwizard for this little extra piece of goodness! And it will certainly come in very handy with glamour shoots on the beach in full sunlight!

Here's the first shot (D-Lite set to full power)

IMAGE: http://www.bjwok.com/photos/other/vagabondminibeachtest/vagabondminibeachtest01.jpg
ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/2500

And the softbox:
IMAGE: http://www.bjwok.com/photos/other/vagabondminibeachtest/vagabondminibeachtest02.jpg
ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/2500

Another at 2.8 - which is not that useful here as the sun is setting, but damn it will be perfect in the middle of the day! (D-Lite still set to full power)
IMAGE: http://www.bjwok.com/photos/other/vagabondminibeachtest/vagabondminibeachtest03.jpg
ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/2500

A narrower aperture for better sunset and cloud definition:
IMAGE: http://www.bjwok.com/photos/other/vagabondminibeachtest/vagabondminibeachtest04.jpg
ISO 100, f/22, 1/100

YOU need one of these!
IMAGE: http://www.bjwok.com/photos/other/vagabondminibeachtest/vagabondminibeachtest05.jpg
ISO 100, f/13, 1/60

Then I jumped behind the camera, whacked a fisheye on, dropped the power on the D-lite to about half and got this:
IMAGE: http://www.bjwok.com/photos/other/vagabondminibeachtest/vagabondminibeachtest07.jpg
ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/1600

Haley wanted more ambient and more "dickhead" - no problem!
IMAGE: http://www.bjwok.com/photos/other/vagabondminibeachtest/vagabondminibeachtest08.jpg
ISO 400, f/5, 1/400

Post #1, Apr 15, 2011 06:50:38


My name is Benon (BJWOK are my initials) :)
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BJWOK
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Beer anyone?

IMAGE: http://www.bjwok.com/photos/other/vagabondminibeachtest/vagabondminibeachtest09.jpg
ISO 400, f/5, 1/400

Also works nicely for full body shots (you just need a decent model!)
IMAGE: http://www.bjwok.com/photos/other/vagabondminibeachtest/vagabondminibeachtest10.jpg
ISO 400, f/13, 1/200

We then wanted to replicate a studio black background.

These two shots were taken directly into the sunset with the D-lite at full power and subject as close to the light as possible.
IMAGE: http://www.bjwok.com/photos/other/vagabondminibeachtest/vagabondminibeachtest11.jpg
ISO 400, f/22, 1/225

Full body on black background while looking into the sunset? Not a problem! This time we achieved the black with a quicker shutter speed. Add a speedlite as a rim light behind to separate, and BAM! you have a damn fine studio shot - taken outside!
IMAGE: http://www.bjwok.com/photos/other/vagabondminibeachtest/vagabondminibeachtest12.jpg
ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/4000

Final thoughts?

Stoked to have full studio lighting outside and the option to add a power board and run a smoke machine alongside at least three other lights is pretty impressive. To also be able to shoot with HSS on those bright sunny days is certainly an added bonus (I know it's not the Vagabond helping with this, but it's rad regardless!)

Here's another couple of me showing my appreciation for the Vagabond Mini:

IMAGE: http://www.bjwok.com/photos/other/vagabondminibeachtest/vagabondminibeachtest13.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.bjwok.com/photos/other/vagabondminibeachtest/vagabondminibeachtest14.jpg

Post #2, Apr 15, 2011 06:50:59


My name is Benon (BJWOK are my initials) :)
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Kechar
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I love my mini! I bought an extra battery too, but I don't know that i'll ever even need it...never know though!

Now if someone can just drag a mono w/softbox and a mini up onto Everest PCB would have a nice promo shot!!! Anyone game?

Post #3, Apr 15, 2011 07:24:22


flickrexternal link KCharron.netexternal link - 5D mark III (gripped) | 24-70 2.8 VC | 85 1.8 | 50 1.4 | 70-200 2.8L
[LIGHTING: 3 Einsteins, AB400, CyberCommander, 2 VLMs w/2 spare bats, 2 64" PLMs, 24x32 softbox, 22" BD, grids and diffusers, Avenger stands and boom.]

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delsol9400
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What kind of camera are you using to get those high shutter speeds with the flex? I doubt its a 5dmkii....

Thanks,

Joe

Post #4, Apr 15, 2011 08:04:23


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bobbyz
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How are you able to sync that fast with dlites?

Post #5, Apr 15, 2011 08:48:39


5dmk3, Sigma Art 35mm f1.4, 35L, 85L II, 24-70mm f2.8 II, 70-200mm f2.8 IS II
Fuji XT-1, 14mm f2.8, 23mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, 56mm f1.2

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BJWOK
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why on earth would you doubt it's a 5Dmkii? you calling me a liar buddy?

Post #6, Apr 15, 2011 08:49:43


My name is Benon (BJWOK are my initials) :)
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clarence
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delsol9400 wrote in post #12226649external link
What kind of camera are you using to get those high shutter speeds with the flex? I doubt its a 5dmkii....

OP even says...
"To also be able to shoot with HSS on those bright sunny days is certainly an added bonus (I know it's not the Vagabond helping with this, but it's rad regardless!)"
and
"FlexTT5 plugs right into the back of the D-lites enabling remote triggering from the MiniTT1"

Post #7, Apr 15, 2011 08:56:24


For Sale: 1D, T1i, 800mm, 600mm

5D3, 1D4, 7D, 600/4L, 200/1.8L, Sigmonster 300-800mm, 80-200/2.8L MDP, 28-70/2.8L, 85/1.8, 50/1.4, 12-24mm, (4) 550EXs, (4) WL strobes, PW MiniTT1/FlexTT5s/AC3/A​C9s
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rhys216
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bobbyz wrote in post #12226854external link
How are you able to sync that fast with dlites?

Because the shutter speed it shorter than the flash duration, so the flash effectively becomes ambient light, at which point both aperture and shutter-speed affect flash exposure.

You can do it with other flashes to, the new PW's basically allow you to do the below trick, without having to use the optical HSS triggering method.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=942092

Post #8, Apr 15, 2011 09:36:11




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ni$mo350
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i love my mini too. Just when I think I'm nearing the end of my list of stuff I need to buy, I get sucked right back in to wanting the PW's.

Post #9, Apr 15, 2011 09:46:21


-Chris-Websiteexternal link||external linkFacebookexternal link|| My Flickrexternal link|| Follow me!!! 500pxexternal link ||external link 5D mkii || 35L || 70-200 f/2.8L IS MKII || My bank account hates you all :cry:

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clarence
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rhys216 wrote in post #12227143external link
the new PW's basically allow you to do the below trick, without having to use the optical HSS triggering method.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=942092

But before it does that HSS trick, the PW MiniTT1 also allows you to optimize the xsync at full power.

Using the USB port on the TT1, you can adjust crossover point where it switches from HyperSync (which lets you use up to full power of your strobe) to HSS (which gives you reduced power because it's using the fading tail of the light curve).

On my 5D Mk II, the usual xsync is 1/200". With the PW MiniTT1, I get 1/250" and 1/320" perfectly clean. 1/400" starts to show some shutter curtain at the bottom of the frame. And then I set the crossover to HSS for 1/500" through 1/8000".

On my 1D Mk III, the usual xsync is 1/250". But with the TT1 I get 1/500" and full power from my strobes. And then at 1/640" I crossover into HSS.

Post #10, Apr 15, 2011 09:52:49


For Sale: 1D, T1i, 800mm, 600mm

5D3, 1D4, 7D, 600/4L, 200/1.8L, Sigmonster 300-800mm, 80-200/2.8L MDP, 28-70/2.8L, 85/1.8, 50/1.4, 12-24mm, (4) 550EXs, (4) WL strobes, PW MiniTT1/FlexTT5s/AC3/A​C9s
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rhys216
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^^^
Yup, good explanation, I would have gone into such detail also, but I thought the poster already new about xsync, and was just questioning how you could get the strobe to sync at extremely fast shutter speeds like 1/2500 - 1/4000 or even 1/8000.

Post #11, Apr 15, 2011 10:05:23




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bobbyz
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rhys216 wrote in post #12227143external link
Because the shutter speed it shorter than the flash duration, so the flash effectively becomes ambient light, at which point both aperture and shutter-speed affect flash exposure.

You can do it with other flashes to, the new PW's basically allow you to do the below trick, without having to use the optical HSS triggering method.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=942092

So dlites have very flash long durations? With AB800 and using mini/flex I can't get more than 1/640 on my 1dmk2. On 5d, even 1/320 is lucky.

Post #12, Apr 15, 2011 10:11:41


5dmk3, Sigma Art 35mm f1.4, 35L, 85L II, 24-70mm f2.8 II, 70-200mm f2.8 IS II
Fuji XT-1, 14mm f2.8, 23mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, 56mm f1.2

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pnmd
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BJWOK wrote in post #12226378external link
Here's the first shot (D-Lite set to full power)

ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/2500

QUOTED IMAGE


thx for the great review and set! I llike my DLite-VML rig also.

I see the explanations from others above about HSS. So are we getting real 1/2500 shooting with this setup? I don't see any banding. This is about to turn into HSS thread, here we go again lol.

Post #13, Apr 15, 2011 10:19:07


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rhys216
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bobbyz wrote in post #12227409external link
So dlites have very flash long durations? With AB800 and using mini/flex I can't get more than 1/640 on my 1dmk2. On 5d, even 1/320 is lucky.

IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
MIME changed to 'text/html' | Content warning: script


I achieved 1/800 on a 550D with YN-460ii (extremely short flash duration) on TT5's.
I didn't really do any more testing to squeeze out more sync due to the fact I shoot with 430exii's now any way.

http://forums.overcloc​kers.co.uk/showpost.ph​p?p=18549718external link

Post #14, Apr 15, 2011 10:25:08




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dmward
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A bit of clarification;
The high shutter speeds with monolights via a Mini and Flex is Hyper Sync not HSS.
It is possible because ControlTL fools the camera into thinking there is a speedlite attached and "pre-fires" the monolight. The light illuminating the scene is the tail of the flash.

A lot of the output is wasted by the early sync firing. Ironically, higher end monolights tend to have shorter tails and thus are less useful for this type shooting.

Hereexternal link is a page on my tutorial site describing how it works. I did the tests with a Genesis monolight but the principles are universal.

Post #15, Apr 15, 2011 10:27:20


David | digifotografi tutorialsexternal link | dmwfotos websiteexternal link

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